Update on Succulent Garden

A year ago I started this project. After removing well established large spiky plants and thousands of white rocks, bucket by bucket, I’ve reached the fun part of planting. This is supposed to eventually create a pattern of swirls and stripes.

December 2020

December 2021

December 2020

December 2021

Hopefully next year’s photos will show a thriving, beautiful, patterned succulent garden.

Wishing everybody a good week.

Cheers, from Patricia (PJ)


Update on My Garden Project

In December 2020, I embarked on a large scale gardening project to create a pattern over an area of approximately 8 x 4 metres with succulent plants. This involved firstly removing some very stubbornly rooted spiky plants and a hundred or more buckets of white pebbles. Check out the https://theunfurlingartist.wordpress.com/2020/12/25/a-big-garden-project/(opens in a new tab) to see early photos.

Hobart recently went into a three day lock-down, due to an interstate COVID positive man entering Tasmania, so I was able to spend one day working on what has become a long-term gardening project.

Another spiky plant was removed. Yay!!

Meanwhile some of the succulents planted are starting to establish themselves and the planned pattern is beginning to emerge.

I’m trying to create furled fronds with vertical succulents of different colours to help the fronds stand out. Here’s the basic plan:

Here’s another frond that has been planted but until the plants spread out, it looks like nothing. You can imagine when they start to grow out how the silvery succulents next to the darker succulents, will make each other pop.

I have to re-plant this unsuccessful attempt of a frond. It rained and rained after they were planted and they suffered root-rot. I will improve the soil and try again.

My randomly evolving succulent garden, on the other side of the pathway is continuing to bring colour and joy.

No work was done in the garden today. Instead I worked on a different kind of big project, a painting. I finished number two Leafy seadragon today. Three more to go.

I hope you are safe and floating through this week with ease.

Cheers, Patricia (PJ) Hopwood-Wade

A Big Garden Project

For some this may not be a big project, but for me this is massive. I have never attempted a landscaping project of this scale before but I’ve started now and I will see this to the finish. These plants came with the house. I don’t know their name.

Apologies in advance to those who find them attractive, and I suppose they could be, if well maintained, but they are time intensive and as far as I’m concerned, time wasters. They always need trimming. It’s hard to prune back their dead leaves and honestly, one month later there are dead leaves again and the monthly cycle is never-ending.

Impossible to keep up with dead-leaf trimming. Take note of the plant in the upper left corner. It’s an unattractive look. In addition to the front of the house, these plants line the driveway and were also planted on each side of the front steps!!

This project is inspired by my succulent garden which, in this space, one of these great big plants used to reside.

There are a lot of varieties of succulents in this fairly small patch of garden.

Here’s a photo of the flowers that my most abundant succulent produces.

Firstly, I have to remove all these big, ugly plants and rocks. Soooooooooooo many rocks!!!

Not quite halfway

Lucky my neighbour lets me use his green bin too because I’m starting to get quite a pile of green waste.

Over flowing green bins is my normal
my rubbish pile which has grown significantly since this photo was taken

I’ve named my blog The Unfurling Artist and have painted cups of teas with “unfurling” steam ladies because I love the look of curled fern frons and the unfurling process.

So, this is the plan… to create fern frons embedded into contrasting lines, all with succulents.

Fern frons with different coloured stripes made with succulents
fern frons designs

I will post updates on this landscaping project as it unfurls into reality. 🙂

Windows – I can see clearly now

Domain House2017sml
windows of the Domain House, Hobart, Tasmania

I started urban sketching about 10 months ago when I visited my son, who is living in Africa.  Below are some of my sketches of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 2016.

boda boda table
A boda boda and table

overloaded truck
overloaded truck

carrying weeds
Carrying weeds

shoe shiners

Among the challenges of perspective, angles and a myriad of others things with urban sketching, there are windows.  How do you paint windows so they are not flat, dark looking spaces?  How can you paint “lively and happy” looking windows?  Often the windows are very dark but I don’t want to duplicate that darkness into my sketch.

So, I’ve been playing with different approaches and mixtures of colours trying to find a system of tackling windows that I’m happy with.  I’m still working on it but here is my latest window-painting strategy.

I have found that the trick is painting wet-in-wet and using lots of clean water. Sometimes I use a fleck of Turquoise or Cobalt Blue to start off, then I paint a line of the dark blue/black colour on the shadow side and the top part of the window.  I load my brush with this colour and then I rinse all the colour out of the brush (and this is important because you need to now use water that is clear of colour) or use a different clean brush. I then apply water, rinse the brush out, apply more water and continue the process.  I gently move the paint when I want to spread the darkness around a bit further, being careful to not lose the light captured.  I want to try to avoid creating a solid colour.  If it does start getting too dark or solid, I drop a great big drop of water in and that usually fixes things up quick-smart!

How do you tackle window-painting?  I’d love to hear.

Cheers for now, from Pjpaintings – the unfurling artist